Inventor, painter, architect – was there anything that Leonardo Da Vinci couldn’t do? Perhaps the most famous name to emerge from the European Renaissance, Da Vinci helped to change the world forever in just a few simple ways. But how much about his life and work do we really know?
In this quick fact file, we’ll take a look at the trivia behind his life and some of his best work.
Da Vinci has helped to bring to life some truly magnificent paintings and creations – but his biggest-ever work, ‘Leonardo’s Horse’, didn’t survive the 15th Century. It was a 20-foot statue of a Duke’s father riding on horseback, and it took Da Vinci 17 years to build. However, it was tragically shot to pieces in a French raid.
Da Vinci never went to school. There are many geniuses and brilliant people who can say the same! However, Da Vinci learnt from his natural surroundings in Tuscany, taking inspiration from wildlife and nature.
Da Vinci cared deeply about animals, as a result. He wrote many diary entries and missives complaining of animals’ treatment at the hand of human superiors and would actually buy birds in cages in the interest of freeing them.
The Last Supper painting by Leonardo Da Vinci
Da Vinci was infamous for leaving work unfinished. For one thing, we was known for being extremely slow and careful with his work. However, with much commissioned work, he received payments, but often didn’t deliver the full goods!
However, that hasn’t stopped his unfinished work going on display. For example, you can still see his unfinished painting, The Adoration of the Magi, in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.
Studies show that, overwhelmingly, there is belief that the Mona Lisa is smiling. Da Vinci never revealed whether the subject in his painting was amused or being coy. Software apparently analyses that Mona Lisa is 83% happy.
But who was Mona Lisa? This, too, is another mystery. Despite Da Vinci’s huge impact on the world, much of his famous work remains mysterious and open to interpretation.
In fact, the Mona Lisa is another painting which is unfinished. Who knows what plans the artist had in mind for the final few touches?
Da Vinci went missing for a few years and was almost put to death as a result of sodomy allegations. However, there were no witnesses to solidify the charges.
It’s thought that Da Vinci’s painting technique helped to fuel the colour by numbers phenomenon. This is because it’s thought Da Vinci used to teach his students to paint through numbered grids. Color by numbers kits have been around since the 1950s and can help many people learn how to paint.
Despite his lack of formal schooling, Da Vinci was a musician through training. He actually learnt how to play the lyre, and then went onto paint through the guidance of fellow Florentine legend Andrea del Verrocchio. It was del Verrocchio who introduced Da Vinci to the natural world.
Do you know any interesting facts about Leonardo Da Vinci that we’ve not mentioned? Share them here in the comments section below!